September 24, 2009

On plane ride home, two Berkeley moments…

Richard Kempton’s Provo: Amsterdam’s Anarchist Revolt. Kempton, writing about the limits of Provo, about how it does not extend much beyond the Dutch speaking, also notes: “Self-proclaimed Provos did raise their heads in the United States: Los Angeles, Berkeley, and Davis (on the University of California campuses), among other places. One legacy of this ‘invisible’ heritage is Provo Park (formerly Constitution Square) across the street from Berkeley City Hall.” p. 130

(Once home, I look it up. It turns out it is the park that I think of as the place to take Sasha to watch skateboarding but it is now renamed the Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park.)

Interested in the Provo technique of placing all happenings or protests or whatever at “an appropriate local statue.” p. 129

Then in an old issue of Harper’s (April 2009) an article on payday lending by Daniel Brook. The article ends with this: “Each year, the rest of the country looks a little more like Cleveland [Tennessee]. In 1949, Tennessee’s poverty rate was twice that of California. Today, they are equal. During the civil rights era, when middle-class Californians from Berkeley came to the South for sit-ins and voter-registration drives, they were shocked--and rightly so--by the poverty they saw. But today Berkeley, a capital of our laissez-faire tech and finance economy, was as of the most recent census the second most unequal city in America, right below Atlanta.” p. 48

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